Identify and address common questions and misconceptions.
Domestic violence murders provide a dramatic and important opportunity for reporters to address many questions and misconceptions about domestic violence. For example: What are the warning signs to look out for? What are obstacles to leaving and strategies to help victims leave safely? Where can people go for help? How does violence in the home affect children?
"'Studies nationwide have found that 25 to 70 percent (the average is 40 percent) of children who are exposed to domestic violence suffer from serious behavioral, developmental, social and emotional problems, compared with 10 percent of children who are not exposed,' Dickstein [clinical psychologist and director of the Early Childhood Research Center at Bradley Hospital] says. 'We can help children to rewrite their stories,' she says, 'so they don't grow up thinking, 'I'm just a little girl who can't help what's happening to me.' ' " (Providence Journal, 10/18/99)
As one in a series of four lead stories during the month of October (Domestic Violence Awareness Month), this article also included an interview with a survivor of domestic violence and a sidebar about where to "Get Help," listing organizations and phone numbers.